The Thing Most Anticipated

I discovered something last night: the happiest place in town, the place to go if you are needing a date night or a reminder that joy still exists in this old world is the international arrivals terminal of any major airport. I happened to be in Atlanta.

I was there to pick up the working daughter and her best friend from a tour of Israel. Usually a very routine event, the airport pickup, I found that the international airport pickup is like a free movie, or even a free trip. The girls went to Israel, but I had as much to tell about my hour at the arrivals gate. All the better because it was unanticipated, a Wow! surprise.

I hadn’t reckoned on the reunions. That’s what that terminal is all about, after all. Reunions. And of course the exotic mix of people from all over God’s earth landing in Georgia, USA.

First, Air Force family. A young mother in red with a baby in a smocked American flag bubble suit waited on a plane from Paris carrying her deployed husband. He hadn’t seen the baby since the day she was born. It was a muted reunion, but I had to remember soldiers are generally muted kinds of people. And one cute detail, the baby’s pinkie toe kept coming out of her sandal. This little piggy kept going to market.

Guy in Green. This guy’s arrivals refused to arrive. He spoke with distress and broad Wisconsin vowels into a cellphone explaining that he was there but they were not. His shorts were olive green and his t-shirt was kelly green. You might think I am going to say, “But it worked.” I’m not.

Intense Turkish Woman. Straight out of a BBC period piece, she was in an apricot chiffon sari and her eyes were dark, intense, and worried. Her mother had Parkinsons and was arriving and the daughter doubted her mother could negotiate customs alone. In her song-like speech she enquired of passing porters and luggage attendants things they could not know or answer.

Girlfriend. In an eyelet halter top, Girlfriend held a homemade sign that read, “Welcome Home, Meatball!!!!” She did a skippy dance when she spotted Meatball and the two reuned happily.  He was a Swedish meatball, by the way, not an Italian one.

Bossy Redhead. Handing out little French flags to the whole waiting fam, including Gram in a wheelchair, Redhead instructed everyone on what to do.

Embarrassing American. I am a proud American who does not look for reasons to disparage her country or countrymates. However. Of all the exotic people and garb ebbing and flowing around me, this guy looked like an ad for ‘Yacht Life’: Salmon colored outfitters shirt with flaps, vents, etc; aqua shorts; RL leather flip flops; not that there was one thing wrong with it all, it just looked a little silly on the world stage.  Though, who knows, he might have been a philanthropist or benefactor or founder of college scholarships.  (But still, the colors and all . . .)

Willowy Indian Girl. Indian women in long tunics float; they just glide.

Serbs. I have no idea if they were Serbs, but something in me just said, “Serbs!” 20 men or so all in their 20s looking fit and edgy moved together to wherever they were going – soccer practice? mercenary orientation?

Dude Ready. Unlike the Serbs who were clearly unimpressed with the watching waiters, Dude Ready was all about this moment. He had done his homework and coordinated his outfit, however he had mixed at least four metaphors. Black converse high tops, untied and artfully gaping to expose a red lining said NBA, above which were tight, rolled cuff skinny pants saying Seattle. A proud American Eagle emblazoned T brought in the teen model demographic, and last but not least, no kidding, a long lanyard hung from his pocket to his knees completing the inclusion of the Rock The South crew. I liked Dude Ready, though. He looked eager for the Great American Experiment.

The most wonderful common denominator of all these disparate groups was that, with the exception of the Serbs, when the waiters were reunited with the arrivers you could tell that the chief joy, the thing most anticipated, was to have their arms around each other. How wonderful it was to hold the person in their arms. They embraced, rocked, rubbed, patted and marveled that they were touching again.

Arms. Arms and holding are universally craved.


This pic has nothing to do with the post, but all posts needs pics and this one is a happy one. 🙂

Johnny Clamps

Happiness Is . . .

~ Thinking you are done forever with making boxed lunches, then realizing on day one of summer that not only are you now making them for the recent-grad-turned-summer-construction-worker, but the lunches must be bigger (think meatloaf), and must be poised at the back door by 6:15 am because work starts early in the Alabama summer, and finally that the lunch must be in a manly cooler that has been banged up and seen its day. The Wonder Woman lunch box he used with pride through high school will not do on the work site, no, not at all. For those of you thinking, hey, he is 18, he can make his own lunch, I can only respond with laughter. I’ve been saying that for years and then when I see what he throws into a limp Walmart sack and calls lunch, I just. can’t. do. it. And for all your big talk, you know you can’t either.

~ Johnny clamps. The same new-minted construction worker reported after his first day on the job that he went with a site-boss to a supply site and the boss told him to look for the johnny clamps! Rather than ask the needed question – what is a johnny clamp? is it big or small? will it be labelled ‘johnny clamp’? – he moved forward with a look of determined where-the-heck-are-those-johnny-clamps? and took cues from the other guy’s manner of searching. Someone found them, I guess.

~ Three weeks with my Little Mama who is an unflagging cheerleader and fan for all her children and grandchildren. She sees the good and tells you. She rises early to read her Bible and devotional book, pen in hand underlining particularly moving phrases or thoughts. I smile though because, no joke, the whole book is underlined. 🙂

~ A smiling picture of the out-of-the-country daughter with the caption, “Just had Baba Ganoush that CHANGED MY LIFE.”

~ The first shower after the water is turned back on in your house. It started, as these things often do, with Andrew checking the mail. Perusing the power bill he grew grave and meditative. Comparing last year’s numbers for March and April, as the bill conveniently does, with this year’s, there was a clear, inexplicable uptick. The game was on. Bill in hand, he visited the power company and a clerk’s offhand comment lead him to determine that the hemorrhage, if you will, was with the old water heater. In head lamp and knee pads, he crawled under the house, confirmed his hypothesis, and proceeded to reroute the pipes in another mysterious direction to the smell of that purple sealant.
Declaring success, he turned the water back on with a flourish; the newly fitted pipe burst forth from the wall and Niagara visited our laundry room. It needed mopping anyway. I was able to look on the sunny side because this was just the first explosion. There were two more to come, as the clock ticked, mom’s flight time crept nearer and nearer, and no showers had been had by all. Suddenly, all you can think of is a shower and a glass of water. Blessedly, local plumber John Dunn, yes, just like that John Donne, came calmly to the rescue. We easily made the flight, showered and fresh. My five foot tall mother, smiling and pulling her rolling backpack through the Shuttlesworth Airport doors, made the whole flood in the laundry room and drought in the bathrooms something to remember and laugh about.

~ Barre class with Rachel Eidson. If football players can push themselves, so can I.

~ A husband’s birthday. A friend told him this morning that he was ‘playing on the back 9’ now. Well.

These things are happiness today.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24